University of Miami
UM Unites to Prevent College Suicide by Transforming Campus CultureThe purpose of UM UnitesÂ is to transform the culture on UM’s diverse campus through leadership, social action and community engagement into a caring and help-seeking environment by increasing awareness and reducing stigma through leadership, social action and community engagement.
The proposed project builds on the University of Miami’s strengths and existing campus suicide prevention activities: including Lifeguards, Canes Care for Canes, Counseling Center, Residential Life, Campus Police, Student Affairs Crisis coordinator and Student Assessment Committee.Universal and selective prevention efforts will be designed with input from key stakeholders, including members of various at-risk groups and implemented through community engagement. All undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami with be targeted, which includes over 15,000 students of diverse backgrounds in terms of age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and country of origin. In addition, selective prevention activities will target various at-risk groups based upon the literature, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the demographics of the student body at the University of Miami. These groups include those whose demographics place them at risk, such as males, including undergraduate seniors and graduate students, and other at risk groups such as people with disabilities and military family members and veterans.
Although UM has a number of existing suicide prevention efforts on campus, there are gaps: only three trained gatekeepers on campus; no formal suicide screening mechanism; no targeting Suicide Case Management Team; no formal Suicide Response and Prevention Plan; no formal Suicide Tracking and Event Surveillance System. To address these gaps, UM Unites, a universal and selective suicide preventative effort, will collaboratively designed and implemented through community engagement. All prevention strategies used will be culturally competent and evidence-based or designated best practices. The specific goals and objectives are to (1) implement gatekeeper programs to train students, staff, faculty, administrators and members of at-risk groups; (2) strengthen the infrastructure through implementing comprehensive screening linked to an intervention for all undergraduate and graduate students and creating a suicide response protocol and formal suicide tracking system; (3) expand educational seminars for undergraduate and graduate students; (4) promote the nation suicide hotline; (5) develop and disseminate culturally sensitive informational materials for students using multiple media and (6) develop and disseminate suicide prevention educational materials for families. A well-designed assessment will ascertain if the preventative efforts are associated with increased service utilization among individuals with suicidal behavior, particularly at-risk groups; overall reductions in suicide ideation/attempts; greater knowledge among community members regarding suicide and its prevention; reductions in stigma in stigma associated with suicide and service use; and cultural transformation.